Past Event

University Seminar in the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas: Alexander Alberro, 'Ch’ixi Epistemology and "The Potosí Principle" in the Twenty-First Century'

April 20, 2023
6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
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934 Schermerhorn Hall

Alexander Alberro, Columbia University

Ch’ixi Epistemology and `The Potosí Principle' in the Twenty-First Century

My paper focuses on the project exhibition, “The Potosí Principle: Colonial Image Production in the Global Economy,” curated by Alice Creischer, Andreas Siekmann, and Max Jorge Hinderer, as well as the critique it received from the Bolivian group of artists and scholars organized under the name El Colectivo when it opened at Madrid’s Reina Sofia Museum in 2010. “The Potosí Principle” explored the callous dynamics of global capitalism from the surprising perspective of the Spanish colonial empire and its distinctive imagery. It merged history and place, discourse and design, the performative and the reflexive. Despite the exhibition’s innovative presentation techniques and interpretative boldness, however, El Colectivo accused the curators of insufficiently decolonizing the structure of exhibition-making. What was at stake in El Colectivo’s criticism? How justified were its claims? And what might this conflict tell us about the relationship between artists, curators, and curated cultures in the twenty-first century?


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